In today’s age I feel like my generation have been brought up with the world at our fingertips. Internet, mobile phones, cars; it’s all so accessible. Who would have thought that you could interview people without being in the same room or buy clothes without having to queue for a changing room. The world itself also feels so much smaller. You can fly from London to New York in under 8 hours and can get flights for as cheap as £2 in Ryan Air’s sales across Europe! But in a world where technology is developing at a rapid rate, can we finally have it all?
When we talk about ‘having it all’, the first thing that comes to mind is being able to simultaneously have a career and a family. Let me rephrase, a successful career alongside a happy family and loving marriage. Surely something has to give? That is always my second thought. Of course, having a high flying career isn’t the be all and end of all of everyone’s goals and aspirations. However, if like me (and what I believe is inherently true of my generation) I do want to have a successful career and one day be more than a housewife and loving mother (of course when that day comes where I am a wife and a mother that is!)
I hold immense value to these two roles that one day will be apart of my identity, nonetheless I still want to have it all. Being able to have a career and travel without compromising on these aspects. At this moment in time I feel a hunger and a drive to achieve and build the career that I want to have. A career that reflects me just as well as aspects of my future family life will. However is this possible?
This leads me back to my earlier thought, surely something has to give? This is something that I particularly think when I see wealthy families. How do both the wife or husband manage to have a secure financial income and raise a family, whilst their partner also works. Naturally I assume that this is where a nanny or helpful relatives come into action; to step in for those times where your child is sick and sent home from school or has forgotten their P.E. kit etc. Nonetheless if there is a period where it would be possible to have it all, I believe it would be in my generation. In comparison to two generations ago, so many more opportunities have become available for women. In a time where my grandmother may have only aspired to work to live and being a mother would have been more than enough, I feel that this attitude really has changed and is continuing to evolve.
As a millennial, I adopt the prospect of living to work, not working to live. In that meaning if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. I also think that there is more of an emphasis to work in a sector that you are passionate about. Yet the question still rings true, is this possible when you throw in taking maternity leave (and possibly a career break) and then ultimately arranging and affording childcare?
This is where the optimist and ambition in me comes to light; when I think of all of the great inspirational stories we hear everyday of how the underdogs made it, against all the odds. Now let me ask you again, is it so unrealistic to think that you and I can have the life we dreamed of with all of the elements ticked off? Maybe with quite a lot of effort and a little bit of luck, maybe.
Nonetheless despite my generation’s opportunities, I believe it is still a matter of timing to truly be able “to have it all”. I think that if you want to do it solely on your own merits, it’s only equally successfully possible at different at times at your life. Such as raising your kids then having the big career, if you don’t have any help. Alternatively maybe this becomes possible when your partner is able to step down on their own career front, so that you can take more of a career jump and the home front won’t sink. Or like so many women nowadays, you work hard for your career and decide to have children much later on in life. However you achieve these life goals, it seems that it may all be a matter of timing (or an extra pair of hands!)
Even when I graduated nearly 2 years ago, I had a taster of this pressure to try to know where I want my life to lead. Coming out of University, there is an expectation to secure a job in a sector that you want to build your career in straight away. Of course even securing that “dream job” takes years of experience, so how does one make it possible to travel in your 20’s, or in any time at your life whilst trying to build a career (and maybe think about settling down and start a family?) This is where a sabbatical, a career break or a “gap year” so to speak comes in handy. Again I return back to the conclusion that in order to achieve your goals, I believe it is all to do with timing. Saying that, there is never going to be an ideal time to leave your job to go after your dream job, to go away for 3 months backpacking or even to decide when to start family. As Izzie Stevens in Grey’s Anatomy puts it, we have to go live our freaking lives. Don’t know how? Nobody does! Nobody knows how. I guess we should just make it up as we go along and trust our choices, and maybe we can be on our way to have it all.
What do you think, can millennials have it all?